A Manhattan teacher has pleaded guilty to stealing thousands from her foreign students after she promised to get them green cards in exchange for cash. Jenetta Ferguson, who teaches English as a Second Language, admitted that she asked students from Italy, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, and the Philippines to hand over cash payments between $8,500 and $10,500 in exchange for permanent resident green cards.
According to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Ferguson pocketed the students' money over a six month period in 2014, and collected a total of roughly $42,000. In a statement Tuesday, Vance claimed Ferguson never even filed applications for the green cards.
“All New Yorkers—regardless of national origin or immigration status—deserve protection from those who prey upon their unfamiliarity with a new language and a complex legal system,” Vance said. “In this case, the defendant took advantage of her position as a teacher of English as a Second Language to mislead her foreign students into believing that she could provide them with Green Cards—for a fee."
In some instances, Ferguson allegedly told her pupils not to renew their student visas, leaving them stranded without legal documentation in the midst of her green card scam.
Ferguson pleaded guilty in New York State Supreme Court to Grand Larceny in the third and fourth degrees, and will be sentenced on March 7th. Law360 notes that when first charged in April 2015, Ferguson entered a not guilty plea to an initial felony charges of scheme to defraud.